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Delhi Wine Club
Chicken Tikka to be the Indian King at HKIWSC

Posted: Monday, 13 August 2012 16:12

Chicken Tikka to be the Indian King at HKIWSC

August 13 : Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition is one of the few wine competitions where medals are also given for food and wine match. Usually wines matching a set of Chinese dishes were awarded medals but also added to the repertoire are Japanese, Thai and now the succulent Indian Chicken Tikka added for the first time, writes Subhash Arora who has been privileged to be a regular judge.

Will it be Viognier or the off dry Chenin Blanc from Sula, Chardonnay from Fratelli, Chardonnay Reserve from Reveilo, La Reserve or Rosé from Grover, Sparkling Rosé Brut or the Four Seasons’ award-winning Ritu Blush that bagged 3-stars (bronze) last month at the ‘Whatfoodwhatwine’ competition held in London? Will it be a dark horse from a boutique Indian winery? Or will we see a Hungarian wine winning Gold, as wines of one winery that won 5-stars (Gold) in all the 4 categories that included the ever popular Chicken Tikka Masala in the UK.

Indian wines have been flirting with the restaurants serving Indian cuisine in Europe, Japan and the USA in order to capture a niche market. The ever-increasing number of Indian food- loving NRIs and expats crave for a decent Indian wine to match with their dishes. The competition being held in Hong Kong on October will be the first opportunity to find out how the Asian judges find the suitability of Indian and other wines with the Indian cuisine.

Interestingly, the completion is in conjunction with IWSC which also organised the ‘Whatfoodwhatwine’ competition in London. It is one of the oldest competitions  and has been running several similar competitions for the last 40 years. They partner in Hong Kong with Debra Meiburg MW who is the competition director and the chairperson of the jury, and Chinese food and wine expert Simon Tam who is also the Head of Wines for China for Christi’s auction house. Judging is conducted by Asia’s most esteemed wine judges from China, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, India and Hong Kong.

There is a guest VIP judge every year. Karen McNeil from the USA, an eminent wine educator, consultant and writer, and the author of the award-winning book The Wine Bible takes over from Italian oenologist Alberto Antonini in 2011 and UK wine critic Tim Atkin MW in 2010.

The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition, now in its fourth year is the largest wine and spirits competition in Asia. Before judging, wines and spirits are stored at the world renowned Crown Wine Cellars to ensure they reach the judging panels in perfect condition. The results themselves are then checked by a team from KPMG to ensure their accuracy giving entrants complete confidence in the rigour and accuracy of the results.

Sula and Ritu from Four Seasons have each one medals in the past-but in the wine category only. This is the first time Indian food has been added in the wine and food category, giving progressive quality conscious wineries an opportunity to have the Asian judges evaluate their wines blind.

Addition of the Indian category and Chicken Tikka has been a result of  lobbying by Subhash Arora, who has been a regular judge at the competition. Indian cuisine is getting extremely popular in South East Asia too and he has been strongly suggesting the organizers to add Indian food categories as well. If there are enough wine entries this year, he would try to push them further to add another dish-perhaps in the lamb/mutton category for next year.

For details, click

Judging takes place between 4-8 October 2012 and the results will be announced at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair to be held on 8-10 November, 2012.  Entries close on September 7. For details, contact

This year judging takes place between 4th-8th October 2012 with the results announced at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair (8th-10th November 2012)

Subhash Arora

It may be clarified that I have no interest other than the desire to see Indian wines enter and win medals with Chicken Tikka. Although I will judge any one or more of the food and wine categories, if Indian wines come in my panel, I excuse myself from judging-as I did last year when I was the president of the panel that got all the Indian wines for tasting, by coincidence.

Subhash Arora


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